My Little Mages: After Effects

by dracone

Finding a New Routine

Twilight kept looking around the library, she was practically panicking over her inability to find her quarry. “Spike,” she yelled so loud it practically reverberated within the living hollowed out tree that was the town library and her home, “have you seen the copy of 'Cooking Basics for All Ages'?” Only Twilight would freak out over a missing book to such an extent, or at least that's what everybody who knew her would say.
Spike, her familiar who also happened to be a violet and green colored baby dragon that looked more like an iguana with a hint of tuatara to it, shot back over his magical link with her, Three things Twilight! One, it's four in the freaking morning, Celestia won't raise the sun for another hour and half! Two, I'm a baby dragon, that means I need sleep more than you need to keep a literary inventory! And three, Sweetie Belle checked that book out two days ago, she's not expected to return it for another nine days, YOU even wrote it down in the library's log because you were the one who personally oversaw her checkout.
“Oh, right,” said Twilight in a more reasonable tone, the slightly dark skinned magicborn girl with pink and indigo stripes in her black hair said with a hint of embarrassment, “sorry for waking you Spike, you can go back to sleep,” she was met with silence. Spike's statement made her realize just how 'late' she was up, she was thankful that she didn't have any real obligations to the town for the time being. She had sent off her letter to Archmage Celestia just the other day, she knew it was going to be some time for the request to be processed, thankfully she had been told it would be a few months before an event in question was to occur. As for why Sweetie Belle had asked to borrow a book on cooking, Twilight had been told by the young magicborn girl herself that her cooking needed a lot of practice, seeing as the last time she tried to cook she somehow managed to burn water, even with magic mishaps Twilight was confused how that could be possible as a kitchen mishap.
Twilight made her way to her bed, and out of sheer force of habit levitated a sleeping Spike from his basket onto her head as she settled down to sleep. She was awoken several hours later by a hysterical Spike spouting something about giant gems trying to eat him. A very groggy Twilight opened her eyes and saw that the clock on her nightstand read nine in the morning, she was thankful she at least got somewhere around five hours worth of sleepy.
Picking him up with her hand she used her magic to open the bedside table's drawer and brought out a ruby shard, Spike seemed to like those the most, gently she grabbed the floating gem with her free hand and unceremoniously shoved it into the young dragon's mouth. “Now if we're quite done with hallucinations about our favorite treats,” she slid the drawer closed with her magic and used a spell to make it so that Spike couldn't open the drawer of his own accord, “could you kindly tell why you were having a freak out on my face,” said Twilight.
Sweetie Bell came by an hour ago with one of the recipes she tried, her sister didn't want to venture the food so she brought it here, and I figured 'hey, someone's giving me food, I might as well give it a go', biggest mistake of my life.
“What did it look like?”
A burnt ham ball, I was in the midst of eating it when she said something about it being a turkey meat ball, but it tasted like a fish nugget. That's when I stopped eating and hissed at her to leave, she got the hint. Then a few minutes ago I started seeing and hearing things all funny, I guess I was at the worst point when I accidentally woke you up and you snapped me out of it. He licked his lips, you tossed a ruby shard in my mouth, thanks.
Given the events that woke her up she decided to talk to Rarity, and later Sweetie Belle. Heading to take a quick shower, then throwing on one of her clean lavender robes, she only had two left and Spike kept pestering her to do the laundry, after pulling on basic undergarments, also in short supply in regards to being clean, before tossing her hair up so that it fell down as a sort of waterfall across her back and shoulders. After cleaning up she hurried back to her room and opened a secret compartment in her wall by the bed, something she installed to keep Spike from damaging the item it held, and pulled out a golden ring that held large horn shaped piece of amethyst on a leather strap that held an enchantment to look exactly like it was part of her hair and tied it on tight before floating Spike from his sleeping perch on her headboard on to her shoulder before heading downstairs and grabbing her wizard's staff, a simple elegant wooden staff with a pair large amethyst and white opal set of stars magical fused together and the exact same dimensions of each other. While many mages of the years had names for their most treasured and powerful tools and weapons Twilight was still trying find the right name for her staff, all the names she had devised for her most treasured possession just didn't seem to fit or feel right. She also grabbed her shoulder bag, and did a quick check to see if everything was in it, and tossed it on as well.
After checking her staff to see if it had taken damage from accidentally mishandling Twilight breathed a sigh of relief. The staff, which was given to her by Celestia herself only a few years prior, would always remain one of her most treasured possessions, even if she managed to gain ownership of an objectively superior mage tool. Twilight opened the door only to find Rarity heading towards her, with the very book she had been freaking out over a few hours prior.
“Thank goodness you're up, Twilight,” said the white clad enchantress, “Sweetie Belle nearly damaged the kitchen following the instructions in this,” she handed Twilight the book.
“How? It's just basic starter recipes,” said Twilight, “I've used it to great success."
Rarity gave a polite cough and said, “Yes well, Sweetie seems to be a disaster magnet whenever she attempts to cook, last time she tried to make me breakfast it was masses of charcoal vaguely in the shape of the fried eggs and bacon she tried to make me.”
“Spike fell victim to one of her recent attempts,” said Twilight as she gave the young dragon a sympathetic stroke on the head, “he said she tried to make a turkey meatball, but it looked more like a burnt ham ball and tasted like fish, I woke up to him hallucinating about giant crystals trying to eat him, fortunately feeding him one of the gem shards I keep at my bedside for situations that require his cooperation snapped him out of his delusional. I don't think he'll trust anything Sweetie Belle puts in front him for a while.”
“Probably for the best, darling.”
“I actually wanted to talk to you about that, how can she be so bad at basic cooking?”
“I wish I knew.”
“Alright, in case I don't see her I want you to tell Sweetie she's banned from the cooking section until I say otherwise. I just hope cutting her off from certain resources can help to mitigate the damage.”
“With my sister and her new friends it's hard to tell, but at least she's interested in getting out of the a bit more regularly.”
“Nice to hear something good came out of this, I'm going to head on down to Sweet Apple Temple to look into how their wards and runes are holding up, an outside look at their protection magics wouldn't hurt.” She put the book in her bag.
“I know they'd appreciate the help,” said Rarity as she left so she could attend to other things.


Twilight's walk to the temple was uneventful, aside from Spike finally coming out of his cleansing stupor and freaking out at the fact that he was asleep when Twilight had a chat with Rarity with him right there. In other words, business as usual. As she approached the temple grounds Twilight's violet eyes scanned for the presence of the Apple family. After a few minutes she spotted Big Macintosh, his cleric's robe with his hammer that was easily the height of Applejack, at the entrance to the grounds proper.
“You're on guard duty today, Mac?” Said Twilight
“Eeyup,” said the tall fair skinned earthborn cleric with a farmer's tan.
“May I enter the grounds, good sir,” said Twilight with a gracious bow. Spike facepalmed, it seemed Twilight wouldn't outgrow the formalities that she had been specifically asked to by the Apple family to forgo.
Mac seemed to contemplate her request for a moment before saying, “Yer always welcome ta tha grounds, Twilight. What brings ya 'ere taday?”
“Thought I'd give the wards and runes a look to see how they're really doing, and maybe do some maintenance and enhancements on them a bit. You can never be too careful, when was the last time you had maintenance on the runes and wards?”
Mac scratched his head in thought as Twilight and Spike passed through the barrier to the grounds, “Ah reckon,” said Mac, “Abou' uh year or so befer Ah was born, is that bad?”
“Depends on the quality of the work,” said Twilight as she moved to take a closer look at rune stone near where she entered, “some of the Chantalot wards just need a little work every century or so, while others need to be stripped out entirely and replaced with new spells, it all has to do with the quality of the work. A low powered, high quality spell can often outdo a high powered, low quality spell. You just need to be careful when it comes to that sort of thing, temple wards are not something you want to find shoddy work on,” she took a look at the temple proper. It was entirely made of red sandstone, no bricks of any other kind could be found.
Twilight found it a comforting sort of odd that the temple had been built entirely without fired bricks, she couldn't explain it, but the temple felt as comforting as the tree she had come to call her home. The apple carvings in several of the bricks seemed unnecessary to Twilight, but it was an aesthetic the Apple family decided when the temple had been built over three centuries prior, the town went up nearby a century later.
Twilight reached into her bag and pulled up green, translucent crystal, a standard issue analysis crystal, and peered through it at the rune stone before her. Twilight gave a little gasp before pulling away and saying, “The work on this rune stone has the hallmarks somebody from Archmage Celestia's inner circle three centuries ago, and to make it more amazing the stone has a self-maintenance charm embedded in it, in short it's a work of art that shouldn't be mistreated or mishandled,” she was practically giddy as she said the words, “I'll see about getting some more in depth analysis tools before coming back to study these runes, all your runes are done the same style, right?”
“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh, when he said it he did his best hide his amusement. The young arcane mage before him just seemed to be really cute when she got excited like this, not that he would ever tell any of his family that, even if the two of them did end up dating. Suddenly the image the two of them sharing a moonlight picnic ran through the large cleric's head and he gave subtle blush he was glad nobody was seeing or noticing. Shaking his head Mac said, “Tha focus fer tha temple barrier is en tha temple proper, Ah'll show ya ta et when yer ready.”
“Thanks so much,” said Twilight with excitement as she pulled her notebook and a fountain pen she had enchanted to always have ink that only would release onto the writing surface its holder designated, and scribbled some notes on the rune stone before her what she had just been told about the others.
“Not uh problem Twi,” said Mac, “jus' give the word an' Ah'll show ya ta tha place.”
After finishing her notes Twilight suddenly realized Spike wasn't her shoulder. While trying to find Spike she she heard three young female voice holler out “Cutie Mage Crusaders, Dragon Hunters!” This was immediately followed by Apple Bloom chasing Spike with a wooden sword raised over her head followed by Scootaloo on her blue scooter with red wheels and Sweetie Belle brought up the rear, all three girls were wearing red capes with the white silhouette of a young mage on a blue shield.
Instead of trying to stop them she decided to let them have their fun for a bit and instead sent a message down her link to Spike, Head into the trees and keep to the dense branches, it'll be harder for them to get at you, once her message was relayed she said, “Girls, if you manage to catch Spike by the time I have to leave remember to bring him to me, I'll give you a 'quest reward' when it's over, but only if you meet the allotted criteria.”
“Okay,” shouted the three in unison.
Gently closing the book, so as to not ruin the still drying ink, and stowing the pen behind her right ear, which once again was an act that seemed a little cute to Big Macintosh, she motioned for the very large cleric to lead the way before throwing her bag back over her shoulder. They made their way inside and were wandering down the red stone passage ways for a few minutes before they bumped into Applejack.
“Howdy Twi,” said Applejack, “Mac given ya tour uh tha temple?”
“Not today AJ,” said Twilight, “maybe I'll ask you for that some other time, right now I'm just checking your rune stones and wards to make sure they don't have any problems, if I find anything I'll send word for for a specialist to come down and fix the problem, your rune stones don't have any problems, and in fact never will from what I observed,” she hugged her notebook to her chest, “they're masterpieces of magical genius that nobody should ever mess with.”
Applejack and Big Mac gave a little chuckle before Applejack said, “We 'ave a policy that if anyone tries ta fool wid tha rune stones they get uh healthy dose o' divine punishment, but et's nice ta 'ear that somebody outside tha family 'as similar opinions. So, Mac's takin' ya ta look over tha barrier focal point?”
“Eeyup,” said said Big Macintosh, while to most his statement sounded the same as always Applejack caught a hint of excitement in his voice.
Applejack decided to put that aside for the time being and said, “So, 'ow much we owe ya fer tha magical checkup, Twi?”
“I would say it's free of charge,” said Twilight, “but I know that won't sit well with you or your family.”
“Eeyup,” said the siblings simultaneously.
“Nice to see we've gotten to know each that well in such a short time,” said Twilight, “so, maybe just a barrel of some of your finest apple juice and couple of apple pies could cover the cost, I'm aware it might be an overcharge or an undercharge, but I was never really all that could at estimating fees for my services.”
The two Apples gave a chuckle before Applejack said, “Twi, don't ever change, yer appraisal o' what we owe ya is fine, and down right practical ta boot.”
“Oh, thank goodness,” said Twilight, “well we've stood around talking long enough, Mac if you would be so kind as to continue guiding me to our destination.”
“Eeyup,” said Big Macintosh.
Applejack fell in step beside Twilight and whispered in the staffed mage's ear, “Ah think he likes ya, he usually takes offense when someone who's not family calls him that.”
Twilight gave a little blush and whispered back, “I've only been here a few weeks, and he's been very courteous. We barely know each each other, although I will admit there is something strangely comforting about this place, almost like it's another home.”
Applejack gave a little chuckle be whispering back with a smirk, “That's usually how et starts.”
“How what starts,” Twilight whispered back with a more furious blush.
Applejack said nothing more and just rushed up ahead, giving her brother a jab with her elbow as she did. A few minutes later Twilight was led into a large open, circle chamber with a very old looking apple tree at its center. Looking around she saw red focusing crystals embedded in the wall and pointed at the tree. Carefully Twilight approached the tree, stopping half way she looked up and saw that there was a massive skylight made of a perfectly clear amplifier crystal, the only other clear version of that type she had encountered was in the Archmage's personal chambers (that was when Celestia had decided to have Twilight take some lessons in the great ruler's private wing of the castle), but this one was seriously larger than the one she had encountered before.
When she got closer to the tree she found that the massive tree had actually grown around a shielding crystal. “When was this tree planted?” Said Twilight with surprise.
“Tha story goes,” said Applejack, “that our family was lookin' ta set down roots somewhere new, it was an old custom ta plant a crystal nex' ta uh tree, somethin' abou' how tha magic in tha crystal helps ta stimulate tha plant's growth.”
“I've heard that theory,” said, “but it's been found that only crystals of certain natural magical compositions can actually do that, every other kind just doesn't work.”
“Well et every place they found themselves campin' et uh large camp site they'd plant an apple seed wid uh crystal o' some kind. They still had half uh bag o' crystals when they dropped tha shield crystal an' uh apple seed. Accordin' ta tha tale uh sprout was up the nex' day an' tha crystal was tha size o' uh wagon, an' that's why tha temple is built 'ere”
“Natural crystal growth with no known stimuli, that's extremely rare, and you have a centuries old sacred tree growing around it, that's even rarer. This place should be a lot more famous, by all accounts it should be one of the major temple sites in the county. The only other temple with a shielding crystal within a tree is the grand temple in Chantalot.”
“Ta be honest wid ya,” said Big Macintosh, “not many 're shown this part o' tha temple.”
“Well then, I'm honored,” said Twilight, “also, as long as the tree stays healthy your barrier should be fine.”
“That's nice ta 'ear,” said Applejack, “but Ah 'ave ta ask, why is tha'?”
“According to the heads of magical research in Chantalot,” said Twilight, “when the plant grows with a magical item embedded in it the power and strength of the spell within the crystal becomes tied to the plant. They know all this because the Archmage's department of magical research spent decades studying different kinds of plants that they intentionally grew in close proximity to crysals, that's also how we know crystals with a certain natural magical composition can stimulate plant growth.”
“That's real fascinatin' Twi,” said Applejack, “but ya kinda over explained uh few thangs ta us, although tha' crystal an' plant growth stuff was a little interesin'.”
“I have a copy of the study back at the library,” said Twilight, “I could make you one if you want, it might help give some ideas on how to keep this tree happier and healthier, the research found that plants that grow with crystals in them sometimes have a few extra needs.”
“Thanks fer tha checkup,” said Applejack as Twilight made her way out.
Once Twilight was about a minute's walk to the entrance to the grounds proper she hollered, “Spike, it's time to go,” more as her warning to the three young mage girls chasing him since she could just as easily send the message down their link. Almost as if he willed a spell himself spike appeared on her head, a bit like he was some sort of unusual hat.
I don't ever want to be in the same area with those three again if we're going to be alone.
“That bad, huh,” said Twilight as the three girls appeared and gave a groan of defeat. Twilight gave a little giggle and said, “Sorry girls, but Spike's jut to crafty of a dragon for you.” Spike puffed out his chest in a show of pride, “but I'm the one in charge of his 'hoard',” the young dragon immediately deflated after his ego had been grounded.
Twilight and Spike made their way back to the library. Once they, and the CMC, were out of earshot Applejack turned her brother and said, “So, Mac, ya like Twi?”
“She's okay, but we barely know each other,” responded Big Macintosh.
“Didn't stop ya from tryin' ta impress her,” retorted Applejack, “although Ah'd think tha tree is more o' uh third date sorta deal.”
Macintosh just blushed and headed back into the temple. On his way in he was blocked by a wiry old lady, “What can Ah do fer ya, Granny?” Said Big Macintosh.
“Ya can stop playin' tha big shy guy fer one,” said Granny Smith in her usual wiry elderly voice, “An' ask tha poor girl out on uh date, et's clear she doesn't 'ave uh social life beyond 'er friends, an' uh sweet guy like ya needs ta start thinkin' abou' tha future. Ah wanna start seein' some new kids toddlin' aroun' tha temple, an' et wouldn't 'urt ta 'ave uh mage like 'er aroun' more often.”
“Subtle as always, Granny,” deadpanned Applejack as she passed the two, “Ah'm gonna get lunch started.”
Macintosh said nothing and just walked past his grandmother with a slight blush, Granny Smith gave a chuckle of her own as she headed back into the temple.


Looks as though you like them big, strong, sweet and mostly silent commented Spike when they got back to the library.
“That isn't true,” said Twilight with a light blush, she opened the door and stepped in then shut the door behind her and floated her bag and staff with her magic over where she usually placed them, “how could it be, we've hardly met, and barely know each other.”
And yet you both have the reaction the forbidden lovers do in those romance novels you seem to like indulging in from time to time, snarked Spike, I might be young, Twilight, but I'm not as unobservant or gullible as most people that interact with me seem to think.
“Sorry Spike,” said Twilight, “it's just that...”
You've never had a personal sensation of the romantic side of things, finished Spike, Twilight, your babysitter is the nation's 'go to' authority when it comes to love, if you're having such a hard time figuring this all out just send her a note and we'll see where it goes from there.
“But I don't want to inconvenience Cadance, it'll seem like I'm asking her to deal with MY problems.”
You're just asking her for help figuring out the romantic side of your life, which by the way practically didn't exist when you arrived in this town. It'll be fine, she'll probably just fly out her for a few days and observe your interactions with Big Macintosh and give a verdict. She's always seemed to have an infallible accuracy when it comes to couples, she once told me that she can see the the true nature of their romantic connections. In other words she can tell if it's a crush, puppy love, just feels like it could be love, serious love, or true love; assuming you actually want to actually know, I mean you've only been here a few weeks, there's no need to rush things.
“When did you get so good with this kind of advice?”
Cadance was very specific with the wording she wanted me to use for when I noticed you giving a guy an extra look.
“Now I definitely have to speak with her,” said Twilight. She rushed over to the writing desk and began composing a very word heavy letter to a certain pink clad Spirit Healer. Spike leaped from her shoulder to land on an upper shelf of which he decided to curl up on.